In this issue:
Google Complaint Causes Delay to Vista SP1
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
If you haven't heard the news about Google's complaint about Windows Vista search functionality, here's a short recap:
Google is complaining that the search tool in Microsoft's Windows Vista discourages customers from using its own search utility and violates the (2002) consent decree and limits consumer choice.
Google's complaint is that Vista's built-in search feature is anticompetitive because the search indexer can't be turned off. So, for people choosing Google Desktop Search, there would be two indexers running, which allegedly would degrade performance and the overall end user experience.
Excuse me? There's no validity to such a claim: If performance of Vista would be degraded by running two search indexers, who do you think people would blame? Surly they would blame the OS maker! Yes, it is true there's no easy 'off' switch for the indexer (you'd have to disable the indexing service), but I don't think there should be one. This is not Microsoft trying to use its monopoly to gain an advantage in the market: the market didn't exist when Microsoft announced it would be adding the 'instant search' capabilities to Windows Vista. It was only a year after Microsoft's announcement that Google released its Desktop Search client.
Another oddity: Google originally filed its complaint in November 2006, only a few days before Microsoft released Vista to businesses. One has to wonder about the timing: Microsoft had been talking about integrated search since 2003, so Google had plenty of advance notice.
Microsoft also has published APIs so that third parties could put their own front-end user interface onto the Vista indexer, thus removing the need for multiple indexers running on Vista.
Microsoft meanwhile decided to play it nice, and announced they would make the following changes:
- Computer manufacturers and consumers will be able to select a default desktop search program similar to the way they currently select defaults for third-party web browsers and media players in Windows Vista.
- Links to the default desktop search program will be provided on the Start menu and in Windows Explorer windows.
- Microsoft will provide information to developers of third-party desktop search programs about how they can optimize their programs to minimize any performance problems.
Earlier this week meanwhile, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly who oversees Microsoft's 2002 consent decree said during a Microsoft status hearing that "The plaintiffs, as far as I'm concerned, stand in the shoes of the consumer ... Google is not a party in this case."
What was interesting to read from the full status report is that it states that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (which will include the changes noted above) will be available in beta form by the end of this year. Although Microsoft (foolishly) never made an announcement as to the release date of SP1 for Vista, it had been widely expected to be in the October/November period (as a slip from Intel's CEO Paul Otellini revealed back in April).
Windows XP SP3
What you can also read from the status report is that Microsoft is planning the 3rd Service Pack for Windows XP. Like some others I had also voiced my concern that Microsoft would be abandoning SP3 for Windows XP like it did with Service Pack 5 for Windows 2000 near the end of its life-cycle.
Microsoft issued a number of updates for Windows XP and Vista in the past weeks:
- Windows Easy Transfer Companion (Beta) - Windows Easy Transfer Companion enables you to automatically transfer your most important programs from your Windows XP-based PC to your new Windows Vista-based PC.
- KB933062 - Update to improve the reliability of the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) repository.
- KB933811 - Update to resolve an issue where the JScript version 5.6 Date object reports time in standard time instead of in daylight saving time.
- KB930627 - Update to resolve an issue where the private data of the DEVMODE data structure may be corrupted on a 64-bit version of Windows when using a 32-bit application in raw mode to print a document.
A list of these & previously released updates can be found on the HelpWithWindows Web site.